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Old 08-15-2011, 07:49 PM   #15
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You could do a lot worse than the Newmar Dutchstar on the web site ncason suggested. Newman is supposed to stand behind their product, is still in production and you can be assured of getting parts. In your price range too.

Good luck

2001 Safari Panther
Tiger Track, Koni shocks
Newbe Southern California based
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Old 08-15-2011, 08:53 PM   #16
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^ I noticed that one too. It's an auction with a "buy it now" price that's a little above the OP's budget, but the tires are dated 08. (edit) meaning that the tires shouldn't have to be replaced for a few years.

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Old 08-16-2011, 02:22 PM   #17
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Make sure you check out the Foretravel motor coach. I have owned 3 and all have been fantatic units. Check out web sites from Motorhomes of Texas and Foretravel Motor Homes. Both these locations are in Nacodoches, Texas. Also, check out www.foreforums.com
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Old 08-17-2011, 06:06 AM   #18
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We created a list like Smitty77 describes. We created a spreadsheet with Want, Must Have, No Opinion as the labels for each column. In the rows we had items like Freightliner, Spartan, full body paint, towing capacity, interior color, fixture colors, etc... Just about anything we could think of we put in our spreadsheet.

Then we started to eliminate manufacturers until we ghot down to two. We used every method possible to evaluate coaches. Spent about a year looking until we purchased our unit.

Take a look at PPL Motor Homes. You can get some ideas for floorplans and pricing. We purchased our coach at Classic Motor Coach in January. They sell bank repo's and are great to do business with.

Be patient in your search. You will find and know the coach you want when you see it.
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Old 08-17-2011, 11:16 AM   #19
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A couple of years ago we were basically in the same position, DP Noob's but wanted "Used Value." I found on the Safari Yahoo site (Safarifriends : To promote the exchange of information regarding SAFARI MOTORHOMES. ) a downloadable PDF a Used Motorhome Checklist. You do have to join (free) to view/download the checklist file. We found it invaluable, especially the "How To Tests" various DP Systems.
1997 Safari Serengeti M-4040
& 2007 Ford Sports Trac
& 2004 Ford Exploder TOAD's
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Old 08-17-2011, 11:45 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by GOLDWINGER2 View Post

The American line by Fleetwood are upscale coaches with quality materials in my opinion.

The rig in the link has almost 100,000 miles. That would not concern me if it has been maintained in the manner that the pictures imply. A frequently used MH probably has had good chassis maintenance.

A rig that has low miles could be a Concrete Queen that was lived in for 4 months per year for 10 years. The interior condition will tell the story.

I would own the Dream except for a few floor plan things that are personal and cannot be modified.

We do not want white woodwork. We would like a second vanity in the toilet room. We would not want a tub/shower.

We do like the Galley on the driver side leaving the dinette with a view of our patio.

We do like the toilet room sandwiched between the W/D cabinet and the shower. Allows for a bit of toilet sounds privacy in the bedroom and salon areas. Yeah, I know, a delicate subject but somewhat an issue when guests are aboard.

We have become fans of Auto Air Leveling vs Air Suspension with hydraulic jacks leveling. The manual jacks system on the Dream would be a no go for us.

The above is just our opinion but might help in your evaluation of the rig.
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Old 08-17-2011, 03:17 PM   #21
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LePalma slides are cable driven and hard to fix. My neighbor has an 06 or 07 lepalma and the slide cables broke. One year after they were replaced they broke again. the dealer that replaced the first set went under and no warranty. the next time the slide had to be removed again and modified to accept a different cable mechanism because original parts are not available! Lucky for him he has good sam exp which saved him a lot of $$$$. It was still a hassle and both times his rig was tied up for 60-90 days. Tiffin products pre 2008 are usually very good deals when you can find one. Our TMH was built in mid 08 when TMH was building record numbers and had some issues with quality control. I would buy another Tiffin because I can go to Red Bay Al. (factory) and stand over the techs while they work on my coach. If I have an issue I can call Bob Tiffin. Actually anybody can call Bob Tiffin about a coach new or old. I have seen him authorize warranty repairs on coaches well out of warranty because he stands behind his product. He has done it for me.
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Old 08-17-2011, 03:26 PM   #22
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You might want to check out some pre-owned coaches at this site. foretraveloftexas.com and click on the pre-owned coaches. There may a couple withing the price range. One is a 2000 Holiday Rambler Navigator in the $80K range. There was also a Foretravel in the $72K range. Check it out, can't hurt.
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Old 08-18-2011, 10:17 AM   #23
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For that budget I would highly recommend that you look at American Eagles in the 99-2000 model years.

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Old 08-18-2011, 08:38 PM   #24
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A friend of ours has a FRED and he says it is not noisy
, not huge HP and lot cheaper but the fuel savings is worth all the above. You need to know Cat has had so many problems with the later engines they STOPPED making Engine. Cummins start much better and are here to stay as the number 1 selling engine in the world. Not too bad eh! Look at the coaches that still have manufacturing plants, that can help you the most. You will love driving a rig with air bags as they also steady the ride not just give you a nicer ride.
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Old 08-18-2011, 09:17 PM   #25
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Wakadacho - KISS. Unless you enjoy all the nuts and bolts of things don't spend a lot of time worrying about the construction of diesel motors. You are planning to spend six months of the year in your motor home so you should make sure you like the floor plan and that the components are fairly heavily made. It is my opinion that you can save a lot of time and guessing by joining the RVCG RV Consumer Group and see how they rate various coaches. They helped me when we bought ours. What I paid for their publications were worth ten time what I paid.

There are lots of good makers of RVs. Make sure you look at and drive a lot of them. Many RV makers did not put long enough chassis on their shorter motor homes. You can either only look at 40 foot or more or buy the RVCG stuff. Quality can be fairly easily seen. It is totally obvious in 15 seconds that a Beaver has a better interior than any Fleetwood (Not the high end American Coach line owned by Fleetwood, but the lower end stuff). But on the other hand some beautiful Beavers have too much weight for their chassis and you cannot hold enough stuff for your trips. The RVCG stuff makes this easy to find out.

Basically what you want to look for for 1/2 year usage is

1. Enough CCCs to carry all your stuff
2. Either get the motor home carefully checked by an expert to give it a clean bill of health or my preferred choice is a good extended warranty.
3. For six months usage look for solid countertops, wood wood not vainer stuff that wears out quick, sturdy carpets and floor coverings.
4. Full printed documentation. Web sites are not enough.
5. Best is to get a coach being sold by a caring knowledgeable owner.
6. Average usage per year for motor homes is 6,000. Less than that or way more is likely less desirable. IMHO low mileage coaches that have set for long periods are undesirable. Rubber seals deteriorate, batteries crumble, and stuff starts to be harmed by lack of use. Taken care of a good motor home like a Monaco, Country Coach, Foretravel, Beaver, Travel Supreme, American Coach, and so on likely cannot be worn out. The motor in our coach a C12 is likely to go way more miles than I will.
7. It is very helpful if you have a previous owner who can help you with all the little ins and outs of how to make your coach run right. If you do not get this it may take quite a long time learning your machine. It took me 1 1/2 years to figure out how to use our rear over the road air conditioner. I knew it was there but no one could tell me how to run it. It took me 20 months and a visit to the factory to figure out how much air to put in the tires, absolutely.

Have fun. Look at lots of them. Check places people normally don't check for quality. Like, are the wires marked.

I have a Country Coach. We love ours.
B Bob
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Old 08-20-2011, 08:53 PM   #26
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A lot of good advice above, except I disagree about avoiding cat engines. Mine has been bullet proof, and there are many other happy owners of cat engines.

I'd suggest that you drive as many different coaches as possible. You'll be amazed at how much difference you'll find between various coaches. Drive enough of them that you know what to look for when you're ready to purchase. Also don't buy too small. The more time you spend in that box the smaller it gets.

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Old 08-23-2011, 06:22 PM   #27
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Hi Guys, i took your advice and decided to drop down the years to get a better quality coach even if it is older than what i had originally set my sights on. We're looking in the 2003-2004 range now, and have settled on the fact that we want 3 slides and at least 90 gallons fresh water tank. We're looking at a few Tiffin / Allegro Phaetons and Itasca Horizons in different model plans, all with varying amounts of use.
The hubby really wants a side radiator cummins ISC (beacuse he wants to chip it ) but the phaeton i like the interior of has a 3126 CAT 330HP. is that a side radiator?
i dont want to have mechanics fixing stuff from my bedroom, and ive read some threads here of a guy who had to open his bed to get to a water pump in his CAT 3126.
any thoughts?

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Old 08-24-2011, 08:35 AM   #28
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Wackodacko - We have a side radiator coach and you still have to go in through the bedroom for some repairs. The guy adjusting our valves had to a few months back. Side radiators are a plus, but I would not stay away from coaches just for that. I would suggest strongly just getting a coach with a bigger motor and not chip anything. If possible you might try to go up a level in coach quality from the Phaetons as some of those were pretty low end back in the years you are talking about. Tiffin upgraded that model as it's popularity went up. You might try to get an American Coach in those years into your price range or a Beaver. You will get solid counter tops and more heavy duty carpets, floor coverings and so on.

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